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Confraternity of Penitents Newsletter -- July 2024


Retreat Master: Father Joseph Tuscan, OFM Cap, CFP Spiritual Guardian

Retreat Theme: The Most Holy Eucharist: The Heart of the Spirituality of Saint Francis of Assisi.



Retreat Text: Francis of Assisi: A Meditation on His Life and Writings as explored by Franciscan scholar Joshua Benson. Everyone attending the retreat will receive a copy of Benson's book. Books also available through the Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop at

August 14-17, 2024, St. Felix Catholic Center, Huntington IN USA.

Bring your own towels, wash cloth, body wash, and water bottle. Other linens and all meals provided. Overnight retreatants: $220 plus $30 worth of food or paper goods OR $30 cash.

Commuters: $80 plus $30 worth of food or paper goods OR $30 cash. Day rate (no overnight) - $28

Special Mass with Bishop Kevin Rhoades and the Father Solanus Casey Society on Saturday.

Partial Schedule (Rosary on your own on all days):

Wednesday, August 14: Arrive 4-5 p.m., Dinner 6 p.m., Meet and Greet—7 p.m., Mass 8 pm with Evening Prayer, Night Prayer,


Thursday, August 15: 8 a,m. Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, CFP Prayers. Breakfast on your own. 10 a.m. Mid morning prayer and Conference: CFP Update. Noon: Mass with Midday Prayer followed by lunch. 2 p.m. Obscure Franciscan Saints who should be better known followed by Midafternoon Prayer and Chaplet Divine Mercy. 5 p.m. Evening Prayer followed by Dinner. 7 pm. Retreat Introduction by Fr. Joseph Tuscan followed by Night Prayer


Friday, August 16: 8 a,m. Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, CFP Prayers. Breakfast on your own. 10 a.m. Mid morning prayer and Conference 1 on Retreat Theme: Fr. Joseph Tuscan. Noon: Mass with Midday Prayer followed by lunch. 2 p.m. Conference 2 on Retreat Theme: Fr. Joseph Tuscan followed by Midafternoon Prayer and Chaplet Divine Mercy. 5 p.m. Evening Prayer followed by Dinner. 7 p.m. -- Group Sharing on Retreat Themes 8 p.m. Exposition of Blessed Sacrament followed by continuous adoration until 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.


Saturday: August 17: Hermitage Day. Silence. Prayers on your own. Adoration of Blessed Sacrament continually until Reposition at 11:30 am followed by Mid-day Prayer followed by lunch. 1 p.m. Mass with Bishop Kevin Rhoades and Solanus Casey Society followed by reception. 3:30 p.m. Mid-afternoon prayer followed by Chaplet of Divine Mercy. 5 p.m. Evening Prayer followed by Dinner. 7 p.m. Sharing on Retreat


Sunday: August 18: 7 a.m. Mass and Depart.


Deposit of $50 can be made to CFP, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803. REMAINDER OF PAYMENT MADE AT THE RETREAT.


In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses proclaims: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today: I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live, in the love of Yahweh your God, obeying his voice, clinging to him; for in this your life consists, and on this depends your long stay in the land which Yahweh swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob he would give them.” (Dt 30:19-20) For Moses “life” consists of the Israelites living in the land promised to them by God. In the Lord Jesus Christ’s High Priestly Prayer in John Chapter 17, we get a very different view of life. “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (Jn 17:1-3) For Jesus, “life” is not just a lifespan in this world. It is eternal life.


In Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict explains for us the “eternal life” of which the Lord speaks. "Eternal life" is not-as the modern reader might immediately assume-life after death, in contrast to this present life, which is transient and not eternal. "Eternal life" is life itself, real life, which can also be lived in the present age and is no longer challenged by physical death. This is the point: to seize "life" here and now, real life that can no longer be destroyed by anything or anyone.

This meaning of "eternal life" appears very clearly in the account of the raising of Lazarus: "He who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die" (Jn 11 :25-26). "Because I live, you will live also", says Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper (Jn 14:19), and he thereby reveals once again that a distinguishing feature of the disciple of Jesus is the fact that he "lives": beyond the mere fact of existing, he has found and embraced the real life that everyone is seeking. On the basis of such texts, the early Christians called themselves simply "the living" (hoi zōntes). They had found what all are seeking-life itself, full and, hence, indestructible life.


The “indestructible life”, the eternal life, of which Pope Benedict speaks comes from the Greek word, zōē, as opposed to destructible biological life which is designated in Greek as bios. He denies that we simply live the life of bios, biological life, and then pass on to zōē, eternal life in heaven. Eternal Life can be lived here and now, but what exactly is it? The Lord gives us the answer. “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (Jn 17:3) Since eternal life is life with the Eternal God, we must first of all know God, then, we need to know Jesus who was sent by God. We cannot really know the One who is sent, Jesus Christ, unless we know the One who sends Him.


Who sent Jesus to us? Jesus calls Him “the Father”. After His Resurrection, Jesus tells his disciples gathered in the upper room “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” (Jn 20:21) Thus, being “sent” passes from “the Father” to Jesus, “the Son” to the Church. Who is this “Father”? This Father is God, of course, but who is this God? Pagans had some knowledge of God, but to truly know this God, this Father, we must know the God of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of the nation of Israel, His chosen people. God chose to reveal Himself specially to the one rather small and unimportant nation of Israel. Even pagan Gentiles recognized this. After the prophet Elisha had cured the Aramaean Naaman of leprosy, Naaman exclaims “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel” (2 K 5:15) The same God who showed His Love by curing the pagan Naaman of leprosy through the prophet Elisha, shows His Love for us all by sending His Son, Jesus Christ to us. While we can learn a lot about God the Father from the Old Testament, His ultimate revelation of Himself is Jesus Christ. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me is greater than all, no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (Jn 10:27-30). Eternal life comes from Jesus Christ and His Father who sent Him to us.


What is “eternal life”? It is certainly different from the biological life which we all live. That life will certainly end in death. Death has the last word with regard to biological life, bios. What is death? Many modern people imagine that death is just the end of existence. This idea is contradicted by Divine Revelation. In chapter 25 of St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus describes the Judgment of the Nations where the just and unjust undergo a final separation. At the end of this chapter, the Lord tells us. “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life,” (Mt 25:46) What is this “eternal punishment” of which Matthew 25 speaks? Scripture sometimes speak of it as “death”. In Romans 6, St. Paul tells us about being either slaves of sin or of righteousness. Paul ends the chapter with the statement, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23) Those who serve the Lord (slaves of righteousness) receive as “wages” eternal life. Those who end biological life as slaves of sin receive “death” as “wages”. This “death” is probably eternal separation from God which, given our utter dependence on God, would be extremely painful and expressed with images of fire. (“where the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” Mk 9:48) We have a choice between eternal life with God or eternal existence separated from God.


This choice between eternal life with God or eternal existence separated from God (death) is not for some future time, but for now. As baptized Christians in the state of grace, we have not only biological life, bios, in us, but also eternal life, zōē, in us. Just as we can lose our biological life by neglecting to take care of our health, we can also lose eternal life by neglecting to cultivate that life. Our eternal life comes from God and is life with God. “[T]hey shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev 22:4-5)


The Book of Revelation is telling us the future, but we must prepare for that future now. This is why eternal life is not just for the future, but for now. Both Christians and the godless both suffer evils, deprivations, losses, sorrows, and hardships. For those who do not have faith, the evils of this world can lead to depression and even despair. It is not the same for Christians. At the Last Supper, when the Lord is telling His disciples about His upcoming Passion, He says “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.” (Jn 16:20) Later, He tells them why He is telling them things which seemed depressing and frightening to them. “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." For those who are united with Christ, the evils of this world and even death do not have the last word. “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is thy victory?’ ‘O death, where is thy sting?’” (1Cor 15:54:55) Jesus Christ has the last word and that last word is eternal life with Him.


The legitimate pleasures, joys, and consolations of this world can, of course, lead us away from God, but they are not evil in themselves. They foreshadow what is coming for us if we persevere in our struggle against sin. That is why the penances of Lent are followed by the joy of Easter. Perhaps we can even think of our penances and sacrifices as a preparation for the real joys of Eternal Life. Indeed, the joys of this life are nothing compared with the real joys of Eternal Life. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,”. (1 Cor 2:9)


We need to examine what is our priority in life. If it is just some gain, pleasure or joy, it may be wonderful, but it will be temporary and imperfect. Should we not be seeking the eternal and the perfect over the temporary and the imperfect? Naturally we all have our obligations in this life which must be fulfilled. Our ultimate obligation consists in tending to our eternal life and not letting it slip away from us. “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?” (Mt 16:26, Mk 8:36, Lk 9:25) The Lord tells us that eternal life should be our priority. Are we listening to Him? -- Jim Nugent, CfP




·         In a London Department store: BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS




·         Notice in health food shop window: CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS

·         Spotted in a safari park: ELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR






Guadalupe Men’s Vita Dei House Resident Alex Krumkowski with Bishop Robert Barron at the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage Marian Route as it passed through Wisconsin, USA. Alex has been accepted as a postulant with the Christian Brothers and had been in Wisconsin at a gathering of their community. Please hold Alex in prayer as he begins his postulancy in August. Guadalupe Men’s Vita Dei House is a ministry of the Confraternity of Penitents and open for men discerning their life path, as Alex was, and for those wishing to live in Catholic community long term. A women’s house is also available. See


Scattered throughout the civil calendar, as through the liturgical calendar, are days of special remembrance. For those of us in the United States, July 4 is one of those days. It’s the day we declared our independence from England. The result of that action: as Vermont Royster wrote in 1961, “for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators.”

It's worth remembering that, because the entire Bible tells the story of people seeking freedom. In the Old Testament, it’s freedom from Egypt, from Babylon, etc. The great Exodus hymn that is sung during the Easter Vigil celebrates this., “Sing a song of freedom, God has won the victory, horse and chariot cast into the sea!” (Exodus 15:1),

But, as we all know, once free, the Jewish people repeatedly sin, are usually subjugated by some other power, and after a suitable period of penance are given power to win their freedom. The 10 Commandments are a roadmap of things not to do to have personal freedom, beginning with being faithful to God. Every time the Jewish people cease being faithful they pay the price; recall the soldiers killed during a battle. After the battle, when the survivors went to prepare the bodies they discovered that each of the dead wore the amulet of another god.

In the New Testament, God sends Jesus to free people from their sins. To demonstrate his power to do this, Jesus goes about curing people – the blind man, the ill, he restores some to life. And he teaches freedom. “Be not afraid,” he tells his listeners. Follow my teachings. Be humble, be generous to the poor to the best of your ability, etc.

Why reflect on all this? There are wars across the globe. Russia has invaded Ukraine. Hamas invaded Israel, triggering a response that has resulted in destruction not seen since World War II. There’s a civil war in Somalia that has led to 20 years of famine. There’s a war in Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; in Mexico, there’s infighting involving two drug cartels that are estimated to have caused at least 400,000 deaths.

In nearly all of these, at least one party is a totalitarian state. Totalitarian states are almost always bad for religion, and sometimes they seek to wipe it out.


Such is the case in Ukraine, where Russia has been waging an active assault on churches, and martyrs are being created in areas occupied by Russia. Russian troops have entered evangelical churches during services. In some cases, the buildings are seized, plastered with murals depicting dead Russian fighters and turned into a cultural center. At least 30 Ukrainian clergymen have been killed and 26 are being held hostage, since Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022.

On this Independence Day, as Americans celebrate with hot dogs, parties, parades and fireworks, let us also remember the words of St. Paul, “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1) and pray for those where oppressors seek to extinguish the light of Christ and to drive churches to worship in secret. – Joel Whitaker, CfP

“It is better to be a child of God than king of the whole world.” -- – St. Aloysius Gonzaga


“What does it cost us to say, ‘My God help me! Have mercy on me!’ Is there anything easier than this? And this little will suffice to save us if we be diligent in doing it.”—Saint Alphonsus Liguori


A powerful, thorough prayer that covers every aspect of one's life when preparing for death. A must have for everyone concerned about their eternal destiny. Available from the Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angels Gift Shop, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803. Sturdy card stock Small four page brochure. 5" x 7" folded. 99c each. Bulk discount available.

Great God, prostrate before Thee, I accept and adore that sentence of death which Thou hast pronounced over me. I stand awaiting the coming of my last hour and, knowing that it may come upon me at any moment, I carry myself in spirit to my deathbed to bid adieu to this world and to make now for that occasion a clear and solemn protestation of those sentiments and affections with which I intend to terminate my mortal career and enter into my eternity.

(1) I have sinned. I confess it with all the bitterness of my soul. I detest with my whole heart all the faults that I have committed during my life. For each of them I would be ready to die in reparation for the offense to God, and I would wish to have died a thousand times rather than have offended Him. I ask pardon of God and of men for the evil that I have done, and I will ask it until the last moment of my life in order that I may find mercy on the day of judgment.

(2) Since my wretched body has been the cause of my offending my dear God so much, with my whole heart I make a total sacrifice of it to my Lord as a just punishment for it. Not only do I resign myself to descend into the tomb, but I rejoice and thank God who has given me this means of paying my debt. Through these ashes which will remain from me in the sepulcher and by these bones which will speak for me, I will confess until the day of my resurrection that the Lord is just, and just also the sentence which has condemned me to death.

(3) I thank my parents, companions and friends for the charity they have shown me in putting up with all my defects, and I thank them for all the favors and all the assistance which in their goodness they have given me. I ask pardon of them for having given such a poor return, and for the scandal I have given them. I ask them to continue to give me the charity of their prayers, and, when I am separated from them, I firmly hope that I will see them again one day in Paradise.

(4) As God in His inscrutable Providence has wished that I should have the disposal of temporal interests, I ask pardon if I have not made the use of them that He expected of me. As He alone is Lord of all, I again place everything in His hands.

I intend that the disposition that I have made or that I shall hereafter make may be for His greater glory, and, in that portion of life that remains for me on earth, it is my firm will and determination to spend all that remains to me when my needs are satisfied, for the work of the Lord, being disposed and indeed desirous to strip myself of everything whenever God wishes it of me.


(5) With regard to the most important point, which is the spiritual preparations for that day which will be my last, I render the most sincere thanks to God for having thus disposed of me and taken me out of the world. I salute and desire and bless that day that will put an end to my own sins, and take me away from the midst of so many sins that are committed on the earth. I now in advance thank that person who will give me the consoling message, and, until that day arrives, I shall regard it as so dear to my heart that I would not exchange it for the greatest day of this world.

(6) I entrust my death to the love and care of my heavenly Mother. In her tender heart I place my last hour and my last sighs. It is in the arms of this Mother that I wish to leave this world and enter my eternity. I intend that every sigh which I shall give at that moment, every breath and every look, shall be voices which call her, which solicit her help for me from Heaven, so that I may soon see her, contemplate her, embrace her and may be able to die with her help. But if, by special favor of her tender heart, she wishes to call me on a day consecrated to her, it would be a still greater consolation for me to be able to present to her the offering of my life at a time when Heaven and earth celebrate a feast in honor of her name and of her great mercies.

(7) I recommend in a special manner my passage to eternity to St. Joseph, the spouse of Mary, whose name I unworthily bear, to my Guardian Angel, to my two special protectors, St. Ignatius and St. Alphonsus Liguori, to all the Angels and Saints of Heaven, and to those souls in Paradise who remember me. I salute them all from this valley of tears, and I appeal to each one of them to pray for me that the happy day will soon come when I shall meet them face to face and enjoy with them that feast that will have no end.


(8) For everything concerned with the time and circumstances of my death, after the example of my Divine Redeemer, I resign myself fully to whatever the Heavenly Father has arranged for me, and I accept the death that God in His eternal decrees considers best for me. To fulfill His will, I accept all the pains that He wishes me to suffer at the time of death. In this hardest sacrifice and in my most painful agony, I wish and intend that His holy will be always done.

(9) With my whole being I give thanks to the good God who, by His special mercy, has willed to call me to the Faith at my birth and place me, unworthy that I am, as a son in the arms of the Church. I today renew those promises that were made for me at the sacred font. I grieve for and detest whatever there has been in my life not in conformity with those promises. I condemn and regret anything that during my life may have been wanting in obedience and respect to the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Today and always I formally declare that I wish to live in the closest communion with that good Mother. To her I entrust my ashes that she may bless them and keep them in her custody until the day of judgment.

(10) I desire and ask for all the Sacraments and comforts which our holy religion has reserved for her dying children at the hour of death; and when the Lord shall demand the sacrifice of my life, I intend to unite it to that which so many confessors of the Faith have made and to breathe forth my spirit in homage of and for the support of our holy Faith.

(11) As I am about to finish my mission on earth, I give back and consign to God that grand vocation with which He has willed to adorn me. I have no words here below to thank Him worthily for it, and I await eternity to do so. I thank with all my heart all those who have employed themselves to this end for me, and I recommend myself to each of them in order that I may obtain mercy at the great moment in which I shall be called upon to render an account of my earthly career. I shall die, and the thought consoles me that with my death there will be one less unworthy minister upon the earth, and that another more zealous and fervent priest will come to make up for my coldness and other defects.

(12) As I am certain with the certainty of faith that God can, and that He wishes, to pardon all those who repent of their sins, relying on that firm confidence which cannot be deceived, and penetrated with the most lively sorrow for my past faults, I protest that I hope most firmly for pardon of all my failings and for the attainment of my eternal salvation. Whatever be the assaults that my enemy may launch against me in life or in death, I will repeat that I believe in my God, that I hope in Him and that He will save me.


(13) Now that my days are about to finish, and that time is about to vanish for me forever, I know and understand better than in the past my duty on earth, which is to know and serve my God. As long as life remains I will lament that time in which I have not loved Him, and I will repeat continually from now on, "Either to love or to die." Whatever I shall have to do or suffer in this miserable life, I intend that it be a proof of love for my God, so that living, I shall live only to love, and dying, I may die in order to love still more.


(14) The sorrow which I experience, O Lord, for not having loved Thee, the desire which I feel to love Thee ever more, renders this life burdensome and distasteful, and makes me pray Thee to shorten my days on earth, and to pardon me my Purgatory in the next life, so that I soon may arrive at loving Thee in Paradise. I ask of Thee this grace, O Lord, not through fear of punishment-----which I confess that I deserve a thousand times more-----but from the sincere desire to love Thee much, to love Thee soon, and to love Thee face to face in Paradise. Let the anguish which I feel, O God, for not having loved Thee, and the danger which I am running of offending Thee and not loving Thee more, serve as my Purgatory!

(15) Finally, when I shall have departed to the grave, I desire and pray the Lord to make my memory perish on this earth so that no one shall any longer think of me except to pray for me-----a favor which I ask from the charity of the faithful. I accept as penance for my sins all that shall be said against me after my death. I condemn and detest all the evil that may in the future be committed because of me. I wish that I could prevent all the sins of the world by my death and so I would be ready to die as many times as there are committed on the earth. Oh! May the Lord accept this poor sacrifice so that when dying, I may have that sweetest consolation of sparing one offense to my Lord on that day.

This is my firm will and testament with which I intend to live and die in each and every moment that God may wish to dispose of me.

I place the moment of my death in the hands of my dear Mother Mary, of my good Guardian Angel and of my special protectors, St. Joseph, St. Ignatius and St. Alphonsus Liguori, all of whom I expect to assist me at the hour of my death and in my voyage to eternity. Amen.

Come then, welcome death. Come, but conceal thy coming, so that the hour of my death may not give life back again.

It will be no longer death for thee, my soul, but a sweet sleep if, when thou art dying, Jesus assists thee, and if when thou art expiring, Mary embraces thee.

Saint Joseph Cafasso ministered so frequently to prisoners that he was called “The Priest of the Gallows.” Perhaps he used this examination to prepare these men for death.

St. Joseph Cafasso is a sponsored priest in Chapel of 1000 Priests in Guadalupe Men’s Vita Dei House. Consider sponsoring a priest (living, deceased, or canonized). $180 per sponsorship will go toward roof and gutter replacement at Guadalupe Men’s Vita Dei House. See for sponsored priests and suggestions of canonized priests awaiting sponsors.

If you or someone you know would like to receive an email daily with a brief biography of a canonized priest, please sign up for the mailing list at Emails will be sent until Corpus Christi 2025.

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